Election polls

Date of publication: June 15, 1971

Author: R. P. Greiner


The election polls as now operated have few prospects to offer. This is also true if we confine ourselves to the causes of error brought about by insufficiencies in the questionnaire and leave out of consideration the purely technical aspect of sampling, i.e . the margins of error which are themselves of uncertain validity. It all hinges upon a questionnaire that has been tested as to its predictive effectiveness . So long as that is not done, election polls will be nothing but a gamble instead of a serious calculation of probabilities . An important hindrance to putting efficacy research into practice is undoubtedly that the customers for election forecasts, that is to say the news media, it must be feared, have as yet. Little comprehension of them and will presumably not be able to afford much towards financing it. But so long as market research organisations continue to regard this sort of research as an attractive form of free publicity, and therefore offer it at low prices, there is unfortunately little chance of an improvement in the climate in this respect.

  • PDF
  • This could also be of interest